MX vs. ATV Alive
By now you have most likely heard about the new edition to the MX vs. ATV family, MX vs. ATV Alive, which was released May 10th to the general public, and has been met with mixed reviews. Following the previous game, MX vs. ATV Reflex, Alive has a lot to live up to. Here we will break down whats good about the new game, and what’s left to be desired.
By Kevin Anderson
Graphics – 4.5 of 5
The graphics are awesome, and the environments are very detailed. All of the landscapes seemed to have been upgraded from Reflex, and the attention to sponsorship placement is very profound. Graphics however, have never really been an issue for these games, and Alive is no different.
Tracks – 3 of 5
In Reflex you had a variety of tracks in a variety of environments that you could choose to race in, from Free Ride, Nationals, Supercross, Enduro, and more. In Alive however, you can only choose from Free Ride, Nationals, and a new racing mode called Short Track. In Reflex, SX was my favorite mode, and not having it in Alive is pretty disappointing.
The national tracks are pretty good, sometimes a little unrealistic, like racing in the jungle (Oceanview) and racing in the snow (cause we all do that alot?). For me, I prefer a normal motocross race setting, instead of the arcade type setting that some of the nationals are set it. Some of the tracks remind me of that car racing game I used to play when I went to CiCi’s Pizza.
One of the coolest things is the ability to free ride at James Stewarts house. That is soooo sweet! Very realistic, they really hit a homerun on that one. That was probably one of the biggest marketing aspects of the game, and was the main reason I bought the game. I had trouble figuring out how to download it with the DLC code, but once I did, I was impressed.
Another thing that was kind of surprising is that there is no season, or ‘career’ mode! Just single player, and local and online multiplayer.
James Stewart Compound
Physics – 2.5 of 5
This is where most of the general public seems to be upset about the game, and I gotta say, I was a little surprised as well as disappointed in the physics of both the bike and riders. As soon as you start playing, you immediately notice some big (not necessarily good) changes from Reflex. First off, the rider is HUGE! It looks like Michael Jordan riding an 85, the rider just dwarfs the bike, and the result is a really awkward riding style, with elbows down and it looks like the rider is sitting the entire time. Reflex had pretty good physics for the bike and the rider, so I don’t see why they changed it in Alive!
On the bright side, as you progress through the game, your rider becomes better, and learns how to scrub and whip, and that makes me feel a bit better, but even the whips and scrubs don’t seem as good as they were in Reflex.
For Alive, they also brought back the ‘preload’, which in my opinion, is pretty dumb. They left that out in Reflex, and should have done the same in Alive. When you preload on Alive, it’s almost like you hit the brakes at the face and you slow down in the air!
One thing that is pretty lame, is when your rider yells randomly at other racers, and looks back with their hand off at random times, like when your going through a whoop section. Come on THQ, that never happens. Ever. And especially not in whoops sections. I hope they fix that.
Also new on Alive is a new clutch feature, that builds up the clutch the longer you hold it in! It will take some time to get used to, but it’s pretty cool. The more the clutch meter builds up, the more the clutch will be engaged when you release it.
Bikes/Riders – 3.5 of 5
The bikes and riders look good, and the attention to detail is amazing. Alive comes with updates to all the gear, and features gear from all the top manufacturers, like Fox, Thor, Answer, No Fear, Troy Lee, MSR, Scott, One Industries and more. As you go through the game, your rider “levels up” and you unlock new sets of gear.
Also new on Alive is a massive amount of pro riders that are available to choose, from Alex Martin, Jason Anderson, Wil Hahn, Andrew Short, and of course James Stewart, who played a big part in the development of the game. James pops up throughout the game as you level up, and gives you words of encouragement and such.
A thing that is always disappointing, and slightly amusing, is the names of the bikes, like “Blaze”, and “Takashi”. I wish they would just use the real names, but it could have something to do with the manufacturers not allowing them to use their brand names.
You start off playing the game with a 125, then as you level up you unlock the 250f’s, then further along you acquire the 450f. As always they have the pointless ATV’s, which will remain untouched.
Online Gameplay – 4 of 5
The online gameplay on Alive is pretty awesome, and they seemed to have fixed some of the glitches that the online gameplay in Reflex had. I play on XBOX Live, and it works awesome. Gone are the long waits for the race to start, and as soon as you join you are put into a race that is about to start.
If you have a PS3, you probably haven’t got to use the Live version of the game, due to the PS3 network being down, and that sucks for you! But seriously, when it is fixed, you will have an awesome online experience waiting for you.
Music/Sounds – 4 of 5
One thing that I am really happy about is that they finally put some good music on the game! On Reflex, they pretty much just had hardcore screaming rock, that just made me want to bang my head on the wall. I ended up just turning the music off.
On Alive however, they finally put some better music on there, I heard some Anberlin and some Rise Against, so that made me happy.
Also, the two strokes FINALLY sound like actual two strokes! the 125′s sounds sweet!
Overall – 3.5 of 5
At the end of the day, we have to remember that this is just a game, and we have to be thankful that game companies are even making motocross games. That being said, I was pretty disappointed when first playing Alive. Reflex, in my opinion, was pretty close to perfect, other than a few flaws and glitches. Alive seemed to have taken a few steps back in the way of rider and bike physics, and seems a bit more chessy than Reflex was.
To me, it seems like Reflex was geared towards the heavy moto rider and the serious gamer, and Alive is targeted towards the casual moto enthusiast, and seems a bit more “arcady” than Reflex.
Alive could be good though! If they fix the rider taunt, the lame “Get Ready, Get Set” before the start, and make the rider to normal human proportions, and add some SX tracks, I could probably deal with it! Right now, I see myself playing to the last level on Alive, and then going back to Reflex.
All in all, it’s a pretty okay game. I’m just happy to have a new moto game to beat! Hate it or love it, you gotta appreciate that THQ is still taking the time to develop moto games for us.
By Kevin Anderson